PLA honour guard and band on way

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 December, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 December, 1999, 12:00am

A PLA honour guard and band will arrive in Macau four days before the December 19 handover, a Chinese official said yesterday.

A welcoming ceremony for the full People's Liberation Army garrison will be held 12 hours after the handover, at noon on December 20, according to sources.

This week it was revealed that the troops would be temporarily based in an 11-storey vacant residential building in the Outer Harbour Land Reclamation Area.

Sources also said a 4,000-square metre vacant site next to the Long Cheng Building would serve as the garrison car park, training area and parade ground.

It is expected the troops will be moved to Taipa Island after a few months.

Mainland officials have said that most of the garrison, numbering less than 1,000, would be based in Nanping Town in Zhuhai.

China and Portugal reached an understanding on the garrison during President Jiang Zemin's state visit to Lisbon in October.

Under a more detailed agreement reached by the Sino-Portuguese Joint Liaison Group earlier this month, the troops will not enter Macau before Portugal's official handover delegation has left early on December 20.

Portugal has maintained there is no need for a military presence in Macau before or after the handover.

But virtually all Macau community leaders, including the pro-democracy camp, have welcomed the troops presence, feeling they might deter triads and act as a disciplinary model for local police.